Eleven people Tuesday night were named to Reading's City Revitalization and Improvement Zone authority in an effort to snare one of two available state CRIZ designations to spur economic development.
A CRIZ allows some state and local taxes generated by businesses in the zone to be used to finance construction and development of buildings, including commercial, sports, exhibition, hospitality and retail recreation projects. Eight cities, including Bethlehem, are expected to compete for the coveted designation that will be awarded to two cities of 30,000 or more people.
"It's an excellent board," said Linda Kelleher, Reading's city clerk. "When you look at the skill set across the group, they will work really well together."
The authority has until Nov. 30 to submit its CRIZ application to the state.
City Council on Tuesday night created the CRIZ authority and appointed these members:
• Elaine McDevitt, chairman of The Rose Corp. of Reading, one-year term.
• Al Webber, president of Tweed-Webber Inc. of Reading, two-year term.
• Scott Gruber, chief operating officer of VIST Bank of Reading, three-year term.
• Donald Smith Jr., executive director of the Berks County Bar Association, four-year term.
• Peter Rye, owner of Brentwood Industries of Reading, five-year term.
• Rosa J. Rodriguez of Reading, one-year term.
• Melvyn Jacobson, retired, of Reading, two-year term.
• Mike Toledo, director of Daniel Torres Hispanic Center of Reading, three-year term.
• James Washington, Reading School Board member, four-year term.
• William Bender, professor at Kutztown University, five-year term.
• Angel Figueroa, I-Lead Charter School of Reading, one-year term.
The other cities vying for the CRIZ designation are Bethlehem, Altoona, Chester, Erie, Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre and York.
The state permits up to two CRIZ designations and one pilot zone approval before 2016, then up to two CRIZ designations each year beginning in 2016. The applications will be reviewed by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, the state Department of Revenue and the Governor's Office of the Budget.